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BLUE LOCK THE MOVIE -EPISODE NAGI- Review: A Genius Is Such A Hassle

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Thomas Richards
| June 29, 2024
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Over the past year and a half, one sports anime has taken the world by storm: BLUE LOCK. This anime series about soccer (or football if you’re British/European) has blown up massively since the series premiered in October 2022. People were entranced with the stories of young soccer players battling it out in the Blue Lock project to see who would become the best striker in the world. It’s a far cry from most sports anime that preach teamwork makes the dream work. Not in BLUE LOCK; only the biggest egoist will survive. With all this hype, the only logical thing to do is to make a movie, and that’s exactly what Eight Bit has done with BLUE LOCK THE MOVIE -EPISODE NAGI-. This film gives us a different perspective on the events of the show’s first season by following Seishiro Nagi and Reo Mikage. But is this new perspective of an old story worth your time? Let’s find out.

We’re Going to be the Best

School is such a hassle. (©Muneyuki Kaneshiro, Kota Sannomiya, Yusuke Nomura, KODANSHA/BLUE LOCK MOVIE Production Committee)

As I mentioned, -EPISODE NAGI- is a retelling of season one of the anime through the eyes of Nagi (Bryson Baugus, Nobunaga Shimazaki) and Reo (Kamen Casey, Yuma Uchida). Instead of following Isagi (Ricco Fajardo, Kazuki Ura) and pals, we see how Nagi and Reo navigated the beginning stages of Blue Lock. But it’s not all a retread of already covered material because we get some extra story beats covering Nagi and Reo’s relationship before Blue Lock started. We get to see a different side to both of them and learn more about their motivations (or lack thereof in Nagi’s case). There’s also the perspective shift in the games we’ve already seen in the series, but now we hear Nagi and Reo’s thoughts instead of Isagi’s. This change makes Nagi and Reo’s friendship (and eventual break-up) hit so much harder, even if you know it’s coming.

I’ve watched the first season of BLUE LOCK a few times (including a rewatch before the film), so I’m quite familiar with the story. Despite that, I still had a lot of fun with this film. Seeing events from a different perspective (including from one of my favourite characters) was great. I loved how we got more insight into how Reo wants to be the best striker to prove his parents wrong. This was covered in the show, but not much time was spent on it. This film was able to explore that more, which I really liked. I also enjoyed seeing things from Nagi’s perspective, as it’s very different from every other character. As he’s a newcomer to soccer, it was interesting to hear his thought process throughout the film. Whether it was wanting to quit when things became a hassle or only acting to help Reo. Even though the plot was mostly a retread, it added much more depth to Nagi and Reo’s characters that I can forgive a mostly repeated story).

The Chameleon and his Genius

Simpler times. (©Muneyuki Kaneshiro, Kota Sannomiya, Yusuke Nomura, KODANSHA/BLUE LOCK MOVIE Production Committee)

Speaking of characters, they are, without a doubt, the highlight of the film (and the series). Nagi is one of my favourites (possibly my favourite, depending on the day), so I loved having an entire film dedicated to him. I knew from the series that he was a lazy genius, but I didn’t realise how lazy he was until I watched this film. He has a cactus as a plant, so he barely has to look after it. Most of his meals consist of those little packets with straws because “eating is such a hassle.” And the only thing he cares about (at the start) is playing video games. Seeing him progress from that initial mindset to meeting Reo and gradually becoming more interested in soccer was very interesting, especially because we get his thoughts in real-time.

I also really liked seeing how Reo’s mind worked during the film. In the series, he comes across as a bit of a spoiled rich boy who is obsessed with Nagi (to a creepy degree). But in the film, we learn why he is like that. We see how even though he’s a spoiled rich boy, he desperately wants to strike out on his own, and he sees Nagi as the way to achieve that. What started as just wanting to play soccer with Nagi turned into a solid friendship, and it was great to see that rather than just assume. Granted, this made the point where Nagi started to not need Reo as much, all the more heartbreaking, as we actually got to hear Reo slowly fall apart. This comes to a head at the end of the film, and if you’ve seen the series, you know (the break-up I still get teary-eyed about).

Moving away from the stars of the show, the supporting cast is just as great as ever. Zantetsu (Matthew Elkins, Kazuyuki Okitsu), in particular, cracked me up on numerous occasions (especially the Jujutsu Kaisen reference in the English dub). I also found it really interesting seeing Isagi and the rest of the main characters from season one as the antagonists. It was cool to see the plot armour plays that Isagi would cook up from an outside perspective and how Nagi and Reo would react. It’s an interesting idea that I hope more anime will use in the future.

Now That’s Some Good Looking Soccer

Not bad for his first day. (©Muneyuki Kaneshiro, Kota Sannomiya, Yusuke Nomura, KODANSHA/BLUE LOCK MOVIE Production Committee)

The animation was once again handled by Eight Bit and was mostly excellent. The animation was mostly on par or better than the series, with a few scenes like Reo and Nagi’s first game or the game of tag being particularly beautiful. Some scenes looked nearly identical to season one, but that was to be expected. What I thought wouldn’t be present were some of the wonky CGI that was in season one. It was only for a scene or two in the middle, but it still looked as goofy as ever. But I wouldn’t say these things detracted much from my enjoyment overall. In terms of music, the instrumental track hit just as hard as the rest of the series, with the emotional tracks that came up with Nagi and Reo tugging at my heartstrings. The main theme of the film is “Stormy” by Nissy x SKY-HI, and the two insert songs are “Beast Mode” and “Octave,” both of which are performed by ASH DA HERO. These three songs slap and have been in constant rotation in my playlist.

It’s over already? (©Muneyuki Kaneshiro, Kota Sannomiya, Yusuke Nomura, KODANSHA/BLUE LOCK MOVIE Production Committee)

BLUE LOCK THE MOVIE -EPISODE NAGI- was an emotional ride from beginning to end. I enjoyed seeing the events of season one of the anime from a new perspective, even if it retraced some steps. I loved getting to know Nagi and Reo more and seeing the series’ protagonists in a less-than-heroic way. While the animation wasn’t the best I’ve seen, the highs outweigh the lows, and the banging soundtrack helped as well. If you’re a fan of BLUE LOCK, or even if this is the first you’re hearing about it, see -EPISODE NAGI- NOW! The first season is on Crunchyroll, so you have no excuse. Keep it locked to Couch Soup for more BLUE LOCK content to feed your hungry nerd soul.

Have you seen -EPISODE NAGI-? What did you think? Who’s your favourite character? Let us know in the comments where we can all agree that Reo deserves better.

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Charlie K
Charlie K
15 days ago

I saw it today and it was amazing! I was worried going in because of all the negative reactions I’d seen, but I was not disappointed. It was very emotional and went between giving me a smile on my face to pulling at my heartstrings. I have me a newfound love for Nagi and Reo and their relationship. The animation was a little wonky at times but overall was great, I audibly said wow during a couple scenes because it was just that good. The music was awesome, I was literally dancing during the end credits. Before watching it, my favorite characters were Bachira(best boy fr), Kunigami, and Chigiri, but now I might have to reevaluate my rankings because Reo and even more so Nagi have moved up on my list. And yeah, I can agree Reo deserved better, I believe what happened was necessary, but it didn’t keep me from feeling bad for him. To end on a humorous(?) note, I went with my grandma and every time someone said a curse word she would gasp and say they couldn’t deny it because it was written on the screen(like she doesn’t curse every day), then she started simping during the bath scenes and I had to inform her that they were teen boys and therefore underage(her response was “well they didn’t LOOK like teenagers, they’re very muscular for their age” lol), and then she basically headcannoned that Nagi is autistic.

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